If you have the opportunity to visit a U.S. Embassy while traveling abroad take note of the customer service and the way the staff operates. No, really. Leon Galanos insists.
Galanos is the director of innovation in the office of Management Policy, Rightsizing, and Innovation at the Department of State. In his role, he leads a team of mid- and senior-level program analysts in assessing the delivery of all management services oversees and domestically to determine areas of improvement. His team’s particular focus is improvement of services within embassies and consulates.
Galanos graduated from George Mason University’s School of Management in 2005 with a Master of Science in Technology Management and applies many of the skills gained throughout his time in the program in his current position.
“There was an emphasis on leadership and teambuilding. In my daily life, here at the Harry S. Truman Building, I find negotiation to be very important, and that was covered in the technology management program,” said Galanos. “But project management, more than any single feature of the program, has been a huge benefit.”
The main project Galanos manages is the Collaborative Management Initiative (CMI), a quality management system to help streamline the tools and management practices embassies and consulates use to meet the metrics in uniform service standards. Before this initiative was implemented, every embassy was managed differently with varying standards and quality of services. Embassy managers can now use the CMI system to compare operations worldwide and access customer satisfaction surveys. Galanos sees the surveys as valuable feedback towards the goal of continuous improvement.
Continuous improvement is not only a goal Galanos holds for his work but also his professional life. While working as a radio branch chief for the State Department, he began looking for a graduate program specifically tailored for technology professionals that want to further develop their professional careers. He began his investigation with a simple Google search.
“When I came across the George Mason program on Google it just seemed like a perfect fit. I took that information to our training department at my bureau,” he said. “They agreed that it served the purposes of our info resource management bureau and the State Department actually funded that training.
“It didn't just help with getting promoted, as nice as that was, but the program also gave me the confidence and knowledge to compete, negotiate, and generally deal with others at the senior executive level across federal agencies."
Galanos’s son, Daniel, is a physics major at George Mason University. Galanos attributes Daniel’s decision to attend the university to his own positive and rewarding experience with the School of Management’s MS in Technology Management program.